10 Relatable Truths Of Growing Up In A Large Family

10 Relatable Truths Of Growing Up In A Large Family

At the end of the day, you find so much joy in your large family, because the love is multiplied by every member.
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“The more, the merrier!” Um, sure. But in the context of family, I feel like the word “messier” should be thrown in there somewhere.

You know, just as a heads-up. Families are messy. Maybe it’s because families are real—authentic. Secretly incredible families are those ones that know they don’t have it all together but still live out their identities to the best of their ability.

It’s in families like that I’ve seen the most profound love and commitment—particularly in larger families, like my own. I also love getting to talk about what it’s like to grow up in a large family, because it makes me realize “messy” and “merry” might be synonymous, after all.

So, if you grew up in a large family...

1. You probably had a B.U.V.

That’s a Big Ugly Van, of any variety. Twelve to fifteen seats, a wide range of colors. Maybe you got lucky and landed a sleek, silver bullet—a newer model with something cool like a top compartment—but it’s equally as likely you rode around in the classic white van with tinted windows that everyone joked belonged to a kidnapper.

Either way, you had to learn to drive that baby, and it felt like driving a school bus. You had a lot of room for carpooling, though, which made for some pretty fun rides with friends.

2. You and your siblings were a cleaning army

Welcome to any given Saturday of your life. Every single one of you was outfitted with a rag, broom, or bottle of Windex, and there was a list. Doing battle against dust and dirt was taken with little enthusiasm, but you all knew you were responsible for the mess in the first place.

Like I said, families are messy! But teamwork makes the dream work, and that work got done quickly when everyone pitched in. Of course, you still all drew straws for who ended up having to clean sinks and toilets.

3. Life was centered around the {enormous} dining room table

Family supper took its rightful place there every night, but during the day it was simultaneously the homework zone and laundry-folding central station. Not only did the table have to be big enough to seat everyone, but it also had to be big enough to hold everyone’s pile of clothes.

That being said, the table was probably one of your family’s prized possessions.

4. You never underestimated the power of a good hand-me-down

There was always something magical about watching your favorite t-shirt get passed down after you grew out of it, almost as if it had been given new life. It was even more interesting when you got to compare pictures of you and your sister/brother wearing the exact same shirt.

If you were on the receiving end of things, you eagerly awaited the day your sibling’s clothes didn’t fit them anymore, especially if you’d been envying the contents of their closet for a while.

5. Your “Fun Fact” about yourself is that you have {fill in the blank number of} siblings

Maybe it’s the “WOW” factor, or maybe you literally cannot think of anything else to say about yourself apart from your family, but whenever that icebreaker is pulled, you throw the number out there.

You have how many siblings?” astonished people say on que. “Yep,” you nod with a little grin, knowing you’ve won the game.

6. Days at home were never boring

With several other siblings constantly running around, there was never a dull moment. From Nerf gun wars to water fights to games of Monopoly that lasted entire days, there was always something going on. Life was fast-paced, and you got pretty good at rolling with it.

7. You had enough people for your own sports team

All it took was rallying the troops and maybe getting your parents out on the lawn, and you were ready for a game. Kickball was the go-to because it worked for all ages, but you also played a mean game of wiffle ball.

8. You were the ultimate squad

Family bike rides ended up looking a lot like scenes from the Goonies, and walking into any public place as a group caught the attention of everyone.

Sure, there were times you wished you could just fly under the radar, but overall you loved the togetherness of your family—the way you stuck close to each other at all times.

9. You shopped in bulk

Sam’s Club. Costco. Anywhere that sold food in exorbitant amounts, really. Your mom was pretty much feeding an army.

10. You have the best family discussions

They usually take place at the dinner table, but sometimes on car rides or in the living room. Maybe you’d all go around and share something from your day, like the craziest thing that happened at school or how you came home to the dog getting into trash again.

Highs and lows, ups and downs. These are the people you do life with, and it’s a blessing to know they are just as imperfect as you.

At the end of the day, you find so much joy in your large family, because the love is multiplied by every member.

Cover Image Credit: Creative Vix

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Acts 1:8 Ministry Explains How To Teach Your Child To Be Charitable And Compassionate

Acts 1:8 Ministry, a non-profit organization based out of Wisconsin, believes in building strong community foundations with integrity and humility.

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There have been many natural disasters that have wreaked havoc in the United States and around the world such as tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes, floods, tsunamis, and volcanic eruptions. Over the last few decades, the generosity of Americans has become well-known, and it's vital to inspire this charitable and compassionate concern for others down to future generations.

Acts 1:8 Ministry has helped enrich the lives of others around the globe through the support of generous donors and volunteers who want to help spread kindness, strengthen their faith, grow the Christian church, and improve communities. To pay it forward, Acts 1:8 Ministry explains below how parents can instill charitable and compassionate qualities in their children through word, action and leading by example.

Start At Home

If you have more than one child, you know there are those times they don't want to share toys, snacks, or even friends. Teaching siblings to share is less complicated when you teach your children why the love for each other is so important. In a family unit, each member depends on all the others. Parents provide shelter, food, clothing, and different needs. Children contribute by helping with chores, obeying house rules, and doing their homework. Mutual love and respect are what strengthens the family unit. Working and giving together teaches invaluable lessons to children and builds a secure family unit.

Working Together For Others

Donating time at a food pantry, shelter, or meal distribution center for low-income families or homeless folks in your local area teaches your children the importance of caring for those who are less fortunate. Explain why it is wrong to judge people who need free services to survive. Your children may encounter people who are dirty and wearing smelly clothes, and they need to know not to say anything that would hurt their feelings or embarrass them.

Giving Together For Others

If your state has a beverage deposit on soda, juice, and alcoholic beverages, you and your children can collect discarded cans and bottles. The money you receive from their redemption can be donated to a variety of charitable causes including animal shelters, food banks, clothing distribution centers, or a local charity you support. There is always a need for cash at all of these facilities. Plan annual family fundraisers, such as yard, craft, bake, and plant sales. Donate the money earned to one or more charitable projects the family chooses together.

Establish Charitable Habits

Establish habits and family routines to encourage charitable acts. Choose things that fit your family's lifestyle. Keep a large "charity" jar and place a dollar amount in it every time the family does something special such as going to the movies, spending a day at a water park, eating out, or taking a vacation. Whenever the family spends money on a fun adventure or outing, setting a little money aside to be used for those who don't have the same opportunities helps children understand the need for caring about other people. Other things you can do as a family include:

• Reduce the amount of clothing in your closets, and donate clean and undamaged items to a charity that distributes clothing to low-income families.

• Clean out the toys. Donate unbroken toys and games to homeless shelters that take in families or to a home for battered women and their children.

• Donate your time to visit a nursing home, and talk to different residents. Encourage your children to ask the older folks to tell stories about their childhood.

• Bake cookies or bread together and distribute to older people that live in your neighborhood. Have your children make a card to give with the food gift.

• Help a neighbor who has been sick with yard work, taking out the trash, or other chores he or she is not able to do.

Children love making others happy and will continue to feel the same way as adults if you help them establish the habits of caring, sympathy, helping, and compassion when they are young. By teaching children the core values of caring and compassion, future generations of Americans will continue to be the world's most generous and compassionate people.

About Acts 1:8 Ministry:

Acts 1:8 Ministry is a non-profit organization that equips Christians to care, share and connect people to Christ through Christian kindness. The Planned Acts of Christian Kindness® Program has touched thousands of lives in the US and over 100 countries worldwide. Through the Water Project, over 130 water wells drilled, blessing hundreds of thousands of lives with clean water.

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To The Older Sibling I Never Had, I Wish You Were Here To Guide Me

I know you don't exist, and I know you never will, but sometimes I catch myself imagining a life with you in it.

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Even though years have passed since this horrific day, it still haunts my memory. Starting high school is a terrifying feeling and an insane transition when you don't have anyone to guide you through it. It was a mere 15-step walk to the door, and once I was inside my parents promised me there would be somebody there to help me find my classes, so why did I feel like I was being thrown straight into the gates of hell? I counted down the minutes until we pulled into the school parking lot and dreaded the sound of the car door opening and the anticipated start to the "best four years of my life."

As we were pulling up, I saw a girl who went to the same middle school as I following her older brother, who was a senior through the front doors as if it had been rehearsed at home. At this moment, I would have given my right foot to walk in her shoes right behind an older brother just this once. Eventually, with no place to hide, I just walked inside.

Unfortunately, this would not be the last of my longing for guidance from the older sibling I've never had.

I get it, I got a B in math. I get it, if I would have spent last Friday night studying instead of out with my friends it is possible that I could have gotten an A. But, what my parents seemed to not get was that life actually does go on even if you get a B on a report card. Time doesn't stop, your dreams don't diminish, and you are still viewed as a fairly competent person.

Luckily for my younger sisters, it seems my parents eventually did get it at the cost of my phone being taken away for three months and my social life ceasing to exist for the rest of that school year. As I spent every Friday night at home studying I longed, for just this once, to have an older sibling who was willing to take this hit for me.

Why did nobody tell me that it's actually more fun to go to school dances with friends than the boy you barely know who is just desperate for some conversation with the opposite sex?

I always wondered why that girl I went to middle school with never took a date to any of our formals or homecomings. Eventually, four homecomings and two proms later, I realized that this was because stumbling through the awkward introductions to family, tolerating the completely posed and overdone photos that would never actually be posted anywhere because you didn't talk outside of this forced interaction, and small talk over fruit punch and loud music was never actually necessary. Of course, I passed this message to my younger sisters and saved them the struggle of finding out for themselves.

Don't even get me started on being the first sibling to have to navigate applying to colleges.

I really could have used you then. I'm convinced there is nothing more difficult than trying to fill out a FAFSA or Common Application with absolutely no guidance or experience. Is my application essay long enough? Should I apply for early or regular admission? What if I don't get accepted anywhere? As selfish as it sounds, I would have given my other foot not to have to find these things out for myself.

I'd trade a lifetime worth of shotgun privileges to have you in my life to help me figure this stuff out.

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